Junipermarket: B2B Wholesale Marketplace


International Market Centers (IMC) serves as the hub of commerce for wholesale industries such as furniture, gift, home decor, and apparel. With over 20 million square feet of high-end wholesale showroom space located in High Point, N.C., Las Vegas, and Atlanta, IMC boasts over 60 years of experience in developing scalable business platforms for wholesale commerce.

Despite the exceptional opportunities for networking and product discovery provided by in-person markets, buyers often encountered limitations due to time constraints and accessibility issues. Recognizing this challenge, IMC saw an opportunity for a digital transformation of the wholesale buying industry that could complement their physical seasonal markets.

In January 2022, Junipermarket, a fully integrated B2B commerce solution and multi-line B2B e-commerce marketplace, was launched. IMC now provides the only omni-channel business platform that seamlessly connects physical and digital wholesale commerce.

My role

-Led design and research for a digital wholesale marketplace in a $500bn/year industry.

-Delivered new features and improvements based on research to empower buyers and sellers.

- Established Juniper's early design and research culture through workshops, company-wide talks, and creating research resources for the design team.


August 2020- November 2022

Junipermarket highlights

Business goals

To start off, I needed to gain a clear understanding of the business goals for Junipermarket. Were there any strategic outcomes in mind for the platform? What were they designed to achieve in terms of IMC's core business, and what long-term value were they meant to create? These questions led to several conversations, which ultimately clarified the overarching goals from the outset. 

📈 Increase revenue for IMC's core business.
📈Enhance the value proposition for sales representatives.
📈 Attract and retain top vendors by offering attractive terms and support.
📈 Establish buyer engagement by creating a seamless user experience and providing excellent customer service.
📈 Build and maintain brand equity.
📈 Use data-driven insights to improve business outcomes, such as increased conversion rates and buyer retention.
📈Foster a culture of innovation internally to stay ahead of industry trends and competition.

Research & discovery

When I joined IMC, the Junipermarket project was just starting its kickoff phase. As one of three designers on the Junipermarket project, I had to quickly grasp the objectives and requirements. Working closely with the product manager, we gathered requirements and divided the workload. As we designed and presented to team members across different functions, questions arose about buyers' behavior, revealing gaps in our understanding. Realizing that we needed more information to fill in the gaps, I sought the support of the VP of Product to help greenlight generative research with buyers.

Working with the PM and design team, I developed a research plan and conducted remote interviews with 33 buyers within a month. Our goal was to map out the entire buyer journey and uncover pain points. The insights we gained were invaluable and helped us refine our understanding of the buyer journey. By synthesizing common themes and patterns from the interviews, we were able to challenge our assumptions and prioritize features that aligned with communicated needs.

🤔 Sample interview questions

  • Can you walk me through your typical process when making a purchase for your business?
  • How do you typically learn about new products or vendors in your industry?
  • What methods do you use to manage your orders and payments when purchasing from a vendor?
  • Have you encountered any challenges when purchasing from a new vendor, and if so, what were they?
  • In your experience, what factors contribute to the amount of time you spend on the purchasing process?
  • When evaluating potential vendors, what criteria do you consider to be most important?

Insights from user interviews

Vendor & Product Discovery

87%   discover new vendors & products at market.

63%   discover new vendors & products through network recomendations.

38%   try new vendors regularly.

62%   stick to existing vendor & branch out occasionally.

Working with sales reps

57%   don't want to engage with reps unless they have questions.

92%   enjoy working with reps that can give tailored recomendations.

66%   appreciate working with reps that understand thier business.

84%   discover new vendors & products through network recomendations.

Order & Payment management

92%   prefer flexible payment terms.

82%   don't have clarity over order statuses and shipping dates.

68%   spending time managing palced orders via email/phone.

Buying online

Not all vendors have websites to place orders from. 

71%   say vendors don't have accurate product information on their websites.

68%   don't buy online because vendors don't always upload their full/latest collections. .

Rolling up our sleeves: shaping

Based on insights gathered from user research and interviews, our team identified the key Jobs to Be Done (JTBD) that Junipermarket could address. We then translated these JTBDs into user stories to help clarify the task flows needed to shape the initial design sprints. As a team, we developed a site map and used it as a baseline to create low-fidelity mockups that translated the main user flows.

The initial site map, user flows, and designs brought clarity and excitement to the team. We could all see the project taking shape, and conversations around the initial designs led to healthy and challenging discussions. Next came prioritization, and we agreed on the MVP features for our first release. As the MVP started to take shape, we held frequent design review sessions with the product and engineering teams. During these discussions, we made trade-offs and feasibility analyses that led to regular design rework to ensure alignment with the latest team decisions and the updated acceptance criteria.

Usability testing

After designing the main MVP flows, I invited 15 of the buyers we spoke with during the discovery research phase to test our MVP prototype for usability. I was responsible for recruiting participants, arranging incentives, scheduling sessions, and preparing a usability test guide.

Following the usability tests, we actioned some of the insights immediately by making iterative changes to our designs. Other insights informed our future roadmap planning, as they were outside the scope of the initial  release. With these insights in mind, we proceeded to the implementation phase to develop and launch the MVP.


During this stage, my role was to prepare the design files for hand-off to the production team. The Lead UI Designer refined the files to a production-ready state and supported the engineering sprints during the build phase. The successful launch of the marketplace on January 22nd, with more than 1500 sellers and over a million product SKUs, was a testament to the incredible cross-functional collaboration between the product, design, QA, and engineering.

Post-MVP discovery: building on our understanding

As the production teams were busy building the MVP, I led our efforts to continue researching and developing features for post-MVP. Together with the PM and Design Director, we developed a comprehensive plan to resume our research.

Over the course of several months, I attended multiple markets in Las Vegas and High Point, diving deep into the world of our buyers. Through 53 interviews and shadowing 16 buyers as they made purchasing decisions, I gained invaluable insights into their motivations and behaviors. This research was essential to our product development process, allowing us to identify pain points, desires, and preferences that would eventually shape our product roadmap.

Beta launch

Following several rounds of internal testing, we were thrilled to launch our platform with beta customers. We had over 7000 customers sign up for the initial launch, and capturing their feedback was incredibly valuable. To that end, I led the effort to create & launch a survey to gather feedback from buyers about their experience.  Our goal was to identify what was working well, areas that needed improvement, and quickly respond to any bugs while making changes based on tangible feedback.

👤 7000 + Beta users

📋 1000 + survey responses

🗣️ 32 user interviews

🧐 28 usability tests

🙌 50 high fives

✨ Endless good vibes

After the Beta Launch, we identified several main areas of concern:

🚩 Unclear registration steps: resulting in users abandoning the process altogether.

🚩 Gated and unavailable products: adding friction and uncertainty to browsing and buying.

🚩 Overwhelming search results: that were hard to narrow down, making it difficult for users to find what they were looking for.

🚩 A lack of recommendations and curation: leaving users feeling lost in the vast array of options available on the platform.

During the post-launch period, it was critical for us to learn from our customers and respond quickly to their feedback. As Art L from North Carolina noted, "Searching here feels like walking into Nordstrom Rack, I have no idea where to find anything." While it may be painful to hear how our choices have frustrated users, it will inevitably prove even more painful if we don't address their concerns.

Releasing and testing software is about learning from mistakes and demonstrating to users that we are listening. By addressing their concerns, we showed our users that we valued their feedback and were committed to creating a product that truly met their needs.


Continuous discovery

The Junipermarket platform continues to develop over time. My involvement in this project has significantly contributed to my growth as a researcher, designer, colleague, and as a person. As a team, we have matured and developed our understanding of continuous research, making it a powerful tool in our collective arsenal. I am proud to have played a role in instilling a research culture within the company.

While meeting business goals is undoubtedly important, the most memorable moments for me were subtle ones. I treasure the moments of shared understanding, laughter, and rapport that I built with customers, colleagues, managers, and team members from all departments. In the end, we created something that simplifies people's lives, which to me a reason to sleep soundly.